Admit it. There’s nothing better than to hit bombs off the tee box. In fact, it’s one of the highlights of playing golf—especially if the shot lands in the middle of the fairway. So it’s understandable when a golfer amps up his or her golf swing trying to hit one long and straight off the tee.
But swinging harder doesn’t get the job done. It just throws your golf swing completely out of whack. That causes you to block your shot right, pull it dead left, or otherwise mis-hit the ball. That gets you in trouble right off the tee, which can cost you strokes.
Boosting Power from Your Golf Swing
The trick to getting more distance from your drives is finding ways to generate more power without swinging harder or completely overhauling your golf swing. One of the simplest—and most efficient—ways to generate more distance without changing your swing is to change your angle of attack on the ball.
The technical definition of angle of attack is the vertical direction of the club head’s geometric center movement at maximum compression of the golf ball. Put another way, the term describes how the clubhead is moving—either up or down—at impact. Angle of attack is measured relative to the horizon.
But if you’re like most golfers, you don’t care about the technical definition of angle of attack. All you care about is how you can hit the ball farther without changing your swing. Below are some tips on how changing the angle of attack can generate more distance from your drives.
Catch the Ball On the Upswing
Research shows that if you catch the ball on the upswing, you hit it higher and with less spin. That combination produces greater distance. If you hit the ball on a descending blow, however, you generate more backspin. That’s not good since backspin kills distance, which is something you avoid that as much as possible when hitting drives.
So how do you encourage an ascending blow when the ball is teed up? One way is to position the ball well forward in your stance. A couple of inches ahead of your front armpit and even with the big toe of the front foot. Also, you can tee the ball higher so that at least half the ball is above the clubface’s topline.
These two moves force you to tilt your shoulders so that your back shoulder is a couple of inches below your front shoulder. It also forces your body to tilt away from the target. These moves, in turn, encourage you to hit the ball on the upswing and get you more distance from your drives.
Shallow Out Your Golf Swing
Another way to change your angle of attack is shallowing out your swing plane. Unfortunately, many weekend golfers use an out-to-in swing plane., which creates a steeper swing path. The reason for this is simple. Your body unwinds too quickly, causing the clubhead to approach the ball from the outside on an overly steep path.
To create an ascending attack angle, you need to swing down more from the inside and on a shallower plane. A good way to practice this type of swing is to swing your club as if you were a right-handed hitter would if he or she were swinging a baseball bat and trying to hit the ball to right field, with your feet parallel to the target line.
After practicing that swing for a while, move your back foot back a few inches from the target line. This adjustment closes your shoulders to the target line. The closed stance makes it easier to swing the club as if you were hitting the baseball to right field. More important, the baseball swing rounds out your motion, which in turn creates a shallower swing plane.
Hitting the ball long and straight is great —especially if the ball settles in the middle of the fairway when it comes down. Launching one down the middle also helps take some pressure off your approach game. And that can cut strokes off your scores and your golf handicap.
But swinging hard to generate more distance doesn’t work. In fact, it often gets you into trouble, costing you strokes. Ingraining the golf tips discussed in this article can help you hit longer, more accurate drives— without swinging harder. And that can help you generate more pars and birdie, which will cut strokes off your golf handicap.